Sex work is not a criminal offence in Nigeria – High Court

Sex work is not a criminal offence in Nigeria - High Court

Nigeria is yet to criminalise sex work in Nigeria, an Abuja Federal High Court has said on Wednesday.

The ruling was handed down by Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, saying it was a gross violation of fundamental rights of those who were arrested by the Nigeria Police sometimes ago at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

She said it was illegal for security operatives to break into the apartment of sex workers. She quoted Section 37 of the Nigeria Constitution As Amended to back up her ruling.

Section 37 (as amended) guarantees the fundamental right of citizens to private and family life. The protected rights include the right to correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications

The judge delivered the judgment in a case filed by Lawyers Alert on behalf of one Constance Nkwocha &15 Ors V. Min. of FCT & 5 Ors.

The judge awarded damages of the sum of N1.6 million in favour of an applicant Constance Nkwocha and 15 others against the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory and five others.

Recall that officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) early 2019 raided a popular night club, Caramelo, and arrested 34 female nude dancers.

Another set of 70 women were arrested in another night club, some of them were released while 32 others not lucky as they were charged 27 were convicted and sentenced to one month in prison for prostitution.

With the new ruling, it is illegal to arrest or detain sex workers in Nigeria.

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